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Six officers arrested over fire at Katwe Police exhibits office

By Simon Masaba

Added 19th September 2020 07:12 PM

The suspects face charges ranging from abuse of office, neglect of duty, destroying evidence, conspiracy to commit a felony and arson, among others. They are detained at various Police stations across Kampala.

Six officers arrested over fire at Katwe Police exhibits office

Kampala Metropolitan Police South, which houses Katwe Police Station, was ranked among the 10 top divisions across the country that are hit by crime. (File photo)

The suspects face charges ranging from abuse of office, neglect of duty, destroying evidence, conspiracy to commit a felony and arson, among others. They are detained at various Police stations across Kampala.

CRIME   SECURITY

KAMPALA - The Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) arrested eight suspects, among them six Police officers, accused of setting ablaze an exhibits office at the Katwe Police Station in Makindye division, Kampala.

On Thursday, the CID director, Grace Akullo, inspected the burnt office - two days after the exhibit safe was set on fire, allegedly to conceal evidence, New Vision has learnt.

Akullo confirmed that suspects had been picked and that investigations were underway.

Kampala Metropolitan Police South, which houses Katwe Police Station, was ranked among the 10 top divisions across the country that are hit by crime, according to the 2019 annual crime report.

The CID's general crime department led by the commissioner of Police Francis Olugu, arrested Karim Bakole, the officer in charge of stores at Katwe Police Station, detective inspector of Police Kibuuka, a flying squad staff, only identified as Kawawa, an inspector of Police only identified as Ejonu, Police constable Esther Among, the officer in charge of the female cells and Prossy Candia, an aide to the officer in charge of criminal investigations at Katwe.

Others were Badru Mirambi, a resident of Nyanama and Marvey Jamal, a resident of Makindye division.

The suspects face charges ranging from abuse of office, neglect of duty, destroying evidence, conspiracy to commit a felony and arson, among others. They are detained at various Police stations across Kampala.

According to Olugu, the exhibit safe was burnt on Monday, two weeks after the Katwe division criminal investigations boss, Gloria Rukundo, tasked the stores officer (Bakole) with returning sh23m, an exhibit vide CRB42/2018 following a request from the complainant, Jackson Bitungiro. Bitungiro was arrested in 2018, over a case of obtaining money by false pretence and theft of a motor vehicle.

Olugu said Bitungiro had mounted pressure on the officers at Katwe to hand over his money since they never tendered it to court as exhibit.

"During the hearing, the prosecution/ Police never tendered in the money as an exhibit in the case," Olugu said.

This prompted Rukundo to task Bakole and Ejonu with handing over the money.

"The officers did not comply and claimed that they only had sh20m," Olugu said, adding: "Sh2m had been signed by a detective only identified as Sseguya, who has since passed on."

When questioned further, the officers (Bakole and Ejonu) said: "Detective Ochen, who was recently transferred to Kawempe Police Station, had only handed over sh15m to them. Again, they still failed to avail the said money (sh15m) they claimed to have," according to Olugu.

According to Olugu, the burning of the office/ exhibit was orchestrated when the crime investigations boss (Rukundo) was out of office on Sunday.

At midnight on Monday, Local Defence Unit (LDU) officers that returned from the city centre on night patrol made an alarm after they saw the office burn.

Bakole was allegedly seen at the scene when other officers joined to put out the fire.

According to Olugu, the LDU broke into the office and used water to extinguish the fire, as other officers called fire brigade.

"Only two cabinets were burnt. These are the only cabinets that exhibited money of all cases exhibited since 2018 to date," Olugu added.

"The fire started from the second cabinet and only burnt that (cabinet) with the exhibit money," Olugu observed, adding: "Even the plastic bag that was near did not get burnt."

"They used paraffin to set the fire. They knew that if they apply fuel (petrol) they would not leave the room. They set the fire after switching off all the power in the sockets, to prevent the automatic burning," Olugu said.

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